Sexual licence in youth takes toll in later years

August 13th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  


Washington, Aug 13 (IANS) People having a history of sexually transmitted disease, including multiple partners and risky behaviour, pay the price later in life by losing the heart or drive for sex. Sexual dysfunction is strongly related to a number of factors like mental and physical health, demographics and lifetime experiences, many of which are linked, according to a new study.

“Having had an STD roughly quadruples a woman’s odds of reporting sexual pain and triples her lubrication problems,” said Edward Laumann, sociologist at the University of Chicago, and co-author of the paper. Men are more than five times as likely to report sex as non-pleasurable if they have previously had an STD.

The study showed that women may be more likely to experience sexual dysfunction because of health issues. The most common problem for men is erectile dysfunction, a problem that increases with age.

“The results point to a need for physicians treating older adults for sexual problems to take into account their physical health and consider their mental health and their satisfaction with their intimate relationship in making any assessment,” Laumann said.

The study is based on interviews with a national sample of 1,550 women and 1,455 men, aged 57 to 85, who were part of the 2005-2006 National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling older US adults.

The survey collected data on social life, sexuality, health, and a broad range of biological measures. The study is a companion to a 1999 study Laumann led that looked at sexual dysfunction among men and women, ages 18 to 59.

That study found that physical health was a bigger predictor of sexual problems for men than it was for women. For that younger age group, having an STD did not increase the odds of experiencing sexual dysfunction.

The study found that among older women, a common factor correlated with sexual dysfunction was urinary tract syndrome, which was associated with decreased interest in sex, as were mental health issues such as anxiety.

Among men, mental health issues and relationship problems contributed to a lack of interest in sex and the inability to achieve orgasm, while being treated for urinary tract syndrome was associated with trouble maintaining and achieving an erection.

Daily alcohol consumption seems to improve a woman’s sexual health, increasing her interest and pleasure in sex. Among men, there was no reported impact of alcohol consumption.

These findings were published in the current issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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